Release that Witch Chapter 1407 Setting Ou
A majority of the people remained in slumber at this moment, but the ground crew and garrison soldiers in the new airport established on the outskirts of City of Glow was already bustling about. They faced the cold spring winds and busied themselves along both sides of the runway. The inner linings of their clothes were already soaked from their perspiration.
Planes after planes were towed out of their warehouses to the end of the runway. The final inspections, loading, and refilling entered in its final phase.
Inside the barracks by the side of the airport, Tilly gathered all the Aerial Knights that had gone through actual combat experience.
After numerous rounds of mass recruitment and with veterans guiding the rookies, the number of pilots able to take to the battlefield had exceeded a hundred. Furthermore, there were students more than two times those numbers who were undergoing extremely intense and harsh training. The 'new troops' which were distinct from the ground troops had already taken shape.
Although many planes were lost in the skirmish at the Impassable Mountain Range, the number of pilots who survived was high. Compared to the ground troops that had difficulty escaping the clutches of the demons and had to engage in bloody battles the moment they encountered them, the Fire of Heavens were capable of gliding out of the battlefield despite losing their combat capabilities.
Regardless whether they were struck by enemies or had some machine malfunction, as long as they were fortunate enough, the experienced pilots were able to sustain flight until they found suitable landing sites.
Of course, their survivability was also because of the fact that the biplanes were not fast but had good buoyancy and the demons' incapability of landing deadly hits with the stone steles.
These factors were the reasons for the increased maturity of the troops in their entirety.
"All of you should be clear on the details regarding this mission." Tilly crossed her arms and walked slowly in front of the troops. Like the combatants who were about to go into battle, she was equipped in thick and windproof combat clothes. Her gray and long hair was coiled behind her head matched with a blue hairband, making her appear ready and energetic. "Exactly like the past few simulation trainings in the past few days, we will infiltrate and break into the enemy's defensive line and drop the bomb into the innermost region of the floating stronghold."
"But this time, you will not be flying in City of Glow's air space, but above the enemy stronghold. The ones intercepting you will no longer be students of the school, but Senior Demons and Devilbeasts."
"Your Highness!" One of the pilots suddenly raised his hand.
"Isn't that much simpler for us?"
The one who spoke was Good, and his question incited laughter.
Tilly smiled; she did not oppose to such 'arrogant' words. On the contrary, such words were morale boosters capable of easing the tension right before battle.
Additionally, Good had already the achievement of killing 12 Devilbeasts alone. The words that came out from his mouth were not empty words of arrogance.
"It might seem so at first glance, but the Senior Demons on the Devilbeasts are not enemies you can ever belittle, I hope that you will return safely to prove this point." Tilly then changed the topic. "Aside from that, I need to emphasize that the surface of the floating island is extremely expansive, so infiltrating the core region means that your surroundings will be their territory. One can imagine a forced landing there. As much as possible, I want everyone to avoid suffering any accidents. I want all of you to throw the idea of risking yourselves at the cost of an enemy's attack for an opportunity to kill them to the back of your heads, understand!?"
"Yes, Your Highness!"
"Very good, we will move on to the formation arrangements. Those designated to 'Fury of Heaven' will assume the task of dropping the explosive charges."
When those words were spoken, all the Aerial Knights immediately pricked up their ears and focused.
Fury of Heaven planes were the first batch of improved Fire of Heaven planes. Their bodies were even more compact and the cockpit had an additional round glass lid. Not only was Fury of Heaven more aesthetically pleasing, it received many capability upgrades. The most crucial change modification was the new star-shaped engine and external weapons system. The former was an inferior version of the Phoenix's engine with a lower power output and without supercharge capabilities yet satisfying the assembly line output standards. The latter included the autocannons and aerial bombs, and could be customized based on the mission.
The first 10 Fury of Heaven planes from the factory were transported over by sea and were core to the air raid exercises. Those chosen to fly the new planes were undoubtedly the pilots recognized as outstanding candidates by the Princess.
Tilly intentionally paused for a moment, then pulled out a name list. "According to the plan, the 10 planes will be split into two teams with corresponding flight teams for escort, the first team Captain will be—Good."
"As you command!"
Everyone turned and cast envious gazes at him. As the Aerial Knight with the best combat record, there was no dispute to him being selected.
"Second team Captain—Manfeld."
The latter was stunned and took a while to recover. "Your Highness, you selected me?"
"Is there a second Manfeld here?" Tilly frowned.
"Yes, yes! As you command!"
Manfeld cried out in joy.
The nomination led to a flurry of whispers. Compared to the majority of the veteran Aerial Knights, he was a newcomer and the entries in his combat record could be counted with one hand. At the Impassable Mountain Range, his performance was only average, with him only taking down one demon. Although he performed well in practice, it was unexpected for him to be chosen as Captain.
But Tilly knew the immense talent and aptitude the newcomer had. It not only displayed in his piloting skills but his performance in intense battles. In terms of flight techniques, Tilly ranked him as top 10 within the Aerial Knights. But he greatly surpassed his peers in terms of his battle sense.
During the aerial battle, only Tilly noticed Manfeld's plane remaining at the formation's weakest position and drove away the hostile forces which attempted to attack from those spots, giving her Phoenix complete mobility to move about. Be it protecting his comrades going into offense or dispelling danger for them, Manfeld always appeared at the most needed locations.
This was definitely not an easy feat; aerial battles were mostly about rapid and substantial changes. The majority of pilots were only able to focus on their wingman and themselves, which was the aerial units required further subdivisions. The ability to examine the entire battlefield as a whole while being involved and seizing the effective incisions, his acute sense and scope far surpassed his flying ability.
Compared to Good who stood out for his individual skill, Manfeld's advantage and superiority appeared on the team level; thus, it was even possible that even he did not realize where his true talent lay.
After the battle, Tilly immediately looked up his detailed records. A knight lineage might had explained his attainments, but something worth musing was that a knight with such capabilities was unable to save his declining family. Manfeld's physique and strength limited his ability in close combat. If placed in a one-on-one battle, she believed that Carter could take him down with one hand.
But the physical strength of a pilot was not a factor for the rumbling engine and autocannons. By relying on the strength of the biplanes, the vast sky was obviously the perfect battleground for him to display his abilities.
Tilly did not explain her choice and believed that after going through a few more battles, Manfeld and the others would naturally notice his advantage.
After disseminating the list of the two teams, she looked up towards the sun and issued the command to move out.
Directed by the signal flags, Phoenix was the first to glide across the runway and soar into the sky. The golden sunlight reflected against the metal wings and emitted a dazzling halo.
Following behind her was the Seagull. After the fall and crash of the first biplane, Anna produced a second quickly. In her perspective, it did not take her much time to do something she was so familiar with.
Finally, 40 Fire of Heaven planes and 10 Fury of Heaven planes with autocannons suspended on their wings formed a large fleet that swept over the City of Glow before disappearing into the western clouds.